NO PAC overreach on contract info requests – Eye Witness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Opposition leader Michael Pintard yesterday maintained that the Public Accounts Committee has “every right” to review copies of any and all contracts entered into by or on behalf of government ministries since September 21, 2021 as he dismissed claims of “overreach”. 

Attorney General Ryan Pinder wroted a letter to Pintard, the PAC chairman, sent in care of the House of Assembly’s clerk, on February 21.

Pinder said the PAC had “made a general request” which went beyond the powers granted to the committee by the House of Assembly’s rules, specifically section 17, and therefore the request by the chairman of the PAC was denied.

During the mid-year budget contribution of Centerville MP Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs Pintard said: “We expect the Prime Minister to clarify whether he shares the position. We believe he directed the Attorney General to muzzle the PAC which would be a change of position from when he was in Opposition. W

Campbell said: “When he was in Opposition the former speaker Halson Moultrie in fact made it possible for the Progressive Liberal Party to garner the information to call for persons as they desire. There is no overreaching in this regard. All it is is the Progressive Liberal Party is acting in an undemocratic manner. They are seeking to muzzle the PAC.”

In 2021, then-Speaker Moultrie overturned a controversial ruling that his predecessor had made which had restricted the powers of the PAC. Former Speaker Dr Kendal Major ruled in 2015 that the PAC could only examine documents that have been tabled in Parliament and could only send for persons, papers, or records if a parliamentary resolution permits it to do so.

Pintard called on Prime Minister Davis to weigh in on the matter as he suggested that he had possibly directed the Attorney General and if not, the Attorney General had acted ultra vires to his authority. 

Pintard said: “We have every right to look at those contracts  to determine whether or not the appropriate amounts were allocated and to evaluate the scope of works to determine whether we are getting value for money.”

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